Home » Water Quality » Contaminants » How To Get Rid of Brown Toilet Water (Easy Solutions)

How To Get Rid of Brown Toilet Water (Easy Solutions)

Scott Winfield
Last Updated on
by Scott Winfield

Nothing will send you into a confused panic more than lifting your toilet seat to find a bowl full of brown toilet water. You reach to flush because you think one of your kids must have forgotten, but it’s not even that. So, what is causing the brown toilet water?

It can be any number of issues, such as rusted pipes or city water problems that can be out of your control. Still, there are several solutions you can try before you call the plumber.

How To Get Rid of Brown Toilet Water (Easy Solutions)
How To Get Rid of Brown Toilet Water (Easy Solutions)

Why Is My Toilet Water Brown

Let’s go over a few reasons why your toilet water looks brown. Odds are you’re dealing with one of these as the issue.

Luckily, you can fix many of these issues with solutions from items you already own. You may also need to take a trip to your favorite home center, hardware store, or department store.

The goal is to show you that a call to the plumber should be your last course of action.

What if It Is an Unclean Toilet

What if It Is an Unclean Toilet
What if It Is an Unclean Toilet

Sometimes this answer is the most likely problem. Going days, weeks, or months without cleaning your toilet can cause brown deposits and mold to grow in your toilet bowl. It’s easy to see why considering the type of bacteria flushed daily.

The solution here is pretty simple. Grab a toilet brush and your favorite bathroom cleaner – or toilet bowl solution – and start scrubbing away at the bowl.

Make sure you’re getting around the rim where the water flows into the bowl. If your toilet goes from brown to pearly white, the problem is solved.

We won’t go into your cleanliness habits or how often you take a brush to your toilet. But we should start with making sure your toilet is clean before jumping into other possibilities.

We get it, though. One poll says cleaning the toilet is the No. 1 most disliked chore on the list of household chores. Unfortunately, it’s a thing that needs to be done with some level of regularity.

What if It Is Clogged Pipes

What if It Is Clogged Pipes
What if It Is Clogged Pipes

A clog somewhere in your toilet’s pipe is another possible issue. Luckily, it is pretty easy to determine if a clogged pipe is causing the problem.

If you have other toilets in your home that are not producing or collecting brown water you can eliminate them as the problem.

Clogged pipes can be more than just too much toilet paper or waste. It can be a build-up of flushable wipes, residue from years of use, or something else.

The issue needs to be dealt with quickly because the pressure in a water pipe can build to the point where it can cause a crack or break. Then you’ve got more than just a brown water problem.

If the clog is pretty close to the toilet, in this case, all you will need to do is grab your plunger and go to work. Plunge your toilet until you dislodge the clog, and you can flush the toilet without overflow.

You may need to call a plumber if the clog will not dislodge after vigorously plunging your toilet. A plumber will come out to your home and likely run a snake through your toilet pipe to remove the clog or locate the issue with a pipe camera.

What if It Is Rusty Pipes

Rusty Pipes
What if It Is Rusty Pipes

Of the infrastructure problems, the first item you should eliminate is the possibility that you’re dealing with rusty pipes. But which pipes are rusty? Consider the age of your home.

Older homes are more likely to use metal pipes such as copper, cast iron, and galvanized steel that are prone to rusting after decades of use.

Getting an idea of the age of a home’s plumbing is something you should ask when buying it. Calling a plumber to look at things outside of the home inspection could save you more money in the long run.

But what happens when you know it’s not your pipes producing the brown water? Cities and municipalities have used steel and copper pipes over the decades like older homes.

Many towns and cities struggle to replace those lines due to budgetary concerns. The American Society of Civil Engineers says the average water network pipe is 45 years old.

Your town or city’s water and sewer department is likely to have an idea of the age of the pipes servicing your home. Getting in touch with them is one way to learn more and eliminate them as a possibility for your water’s discoloration.

So, what do you do if you find out rusty pipes are your issue? The simplest solution here is to flush your pipes. Do this by turning on the cold water on several faucets inside your home and letting them run for 5 to 10 minutes.

Do the same with the hot water, but leave those running for 15 to 20 minutes. If you see clear water after that period has ended, you have successfully flushed your pipes.

Flushing your pipes like this allows the water to clear any rust sediments that could have settled or grown in your pipes.

If your water is still brown after a good flush, the problem is likely with your city or municipality’s water supply to your home. Calling your local water and sewer department and having them come to inspect the pipes can be illuminating.

Brown water from their pipes may push them to replace entire lines on your street or just the one heading to your home.

You should continue monitoring your home’s water supply even after eliminating the brown water.

What if It Is a Rusted or Corroded Well

What if It Is a Rusted or Corroded Well
What if It Is a Rusted or Corroded Well

You likely have an issue with a rusty or corroded well if you have brown toilet water and your water is supplied by that well. Use the process of elimination here first to see if it’s a rusty pipe as well, but sometimes it’s best to start with the source of your water and work your way to the end.

Start with an inspection of your well. A water treatment specialist may be helpful if you are unfamiliar with the plumbing situation or how well water is collected.

Head on over to your well and collect some of the water inside it. If your sample is brown, you know exactly where you need to start.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 23 million homes in America are serviced by private and unregulated wells and those wells are left to be serviced and maintained by homeowners.

While there is no official government guidance on wells, the EPA provides several resources to help well owners keep their water safe for drinking and daily use.

The easiest solution here is treating and filtering your well water. Like a pool, well water needs to be treated since it’s collected from the groundwater supply.

Treatments will remove any particles such as iron that can cause water stains and rust to develop in your water supply. That treated water should then be run through a filter at the well to ensure the water to your home is clean and free of any contaminants.

If your well is seriously damaged due to corrosion or rusting beyond your control, you will likely have to replace it or hire an expert to deal with it.

What if There Are Too Many Minerals in the Water

What if There Are Too Many Minerals in the Water
What if There Are Too Many Minerals in the Water

Too many minerals in your water might be another reason you’re dealing with brown water.

The first potential culprit is iron. Iron is not necessarily bad for your health, considering it’s a nutrient that helps move oxygen through your blood, but it can turn your water a brownish color with as little as 0.3mg detected.

A higher level of iron in your water can also make things taste metallic and leave behind a brown, sticky slime inside your toilet’s tank and bowl. This residue can lead to bigger issues like clogged and corroded pipes if you do not handle it quickly.

The next set of culprits is manganese and calcium. The combination of these two minerals with the oxygen in your toilet can turn the water brown.

Your first step in determining the level of minerals in your water is to get a water testing kit. You can obtain these kits at your favorite home center or online.

Perform the test with the kit, and you’ll learn every mineral present in your home’s water supply.

Once you’ve established the concentration of minerals inside your toilet water, you can come up with a plan of attack for dealing with them. However, one way to handle this easily with at-home products is white vinegar.

You can soak your toilet bowl, tank, and toilet parts with white vinegar overnight to break down any minerals.

Another solution is to purchase a water softening solution. This is another trip to your favorite home center or home improvement website, but many of the solutions offered will set you back less than $10.

Sign Up For Free 2022 Water Defense Guide!

Join our 1 Million+ strong water defense community and get updated on the latest product news & gear reviews. Plus, get a FREE 21-page "2022 Water Defense Guide" with exclusive content NOT on this site!

We HATE spam. Your e-mail will never sold or shared!

Scott Winfield
Scott Winfield
My name is Scott Winfield and researching and writing about water filters and other strategies to purify water has become my full time passion in recent years. I'm glad that you found our site and you can look forward to authoritative and well researched content here to help you get the best in water.
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.